Will win: Argo
Always atop the Oscar frontrunner ladder, Argo became the defacto winner with its combination of PGA, DGA, SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globe, WGA, Ace Eddie victories. It prevailed despite a Best Director nomination becoming the scrappy underdog in which the Academy truly relishes. Nothing else stands much of a chance.
BEST DIRECTOR- Ang Lee, Life of Pi
With Best Picture spoken for without a Best Director slot this very strange year has an odd conundrum in what to do with the now secondary Directors slot; a formidable one at that mind you. My gut says Ang Lee takes it away because Life of Pi is a pure through and through directorial achievement from a filmmaker that everyone out and out admires. I can't quite imagine a scenario where Spielberg wins without a Best Picture honor, but smell the threat of David O. Russell. Plus, Lee might get overdue sympathy in light of the Brokeback Mountain upset in 2005.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
BEST ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
A gut pick and one that's perhaps spurred on at least partially by my own biases, as I reckon if the members of the Academy actually sit down and watch all five performances, they shall agree it's handily the best. The BAFTA win is not insignificant, but I agree that by all measure Jennifer Lawrence should be the logical pick. However, she is mighty young and at the ripe age of 22 will, and most shall agree, have another go at it. Riva, whose 86th birthday is the day of the ceremony, I feel, will honored.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
The hardest acting category and one of the most irritating as all five all previous winner (an Academy first.) I'm going with the SAG pick on the thinking that the sourpuss Jones will prevail as a way to share the wealth for Lincoln.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Amour- Michael Haneke
A tricky one, consider both Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained are legitimate threats. However, Zero Dark is a problem child on account of the torture sequences, and I feel Django likely didn't register all too well with the Academy. Since Amour seems nearly a given as Foreign Film, and has 5 nominations to its credit, I feel the love will transfer to screenplay, a place where Director nominee Haneke can fully win an Oscar.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Argo- Chris Terrio
A bit painful as Tony Kushner's work on Lincoln is letter perfect, but the Best Picture winner should prevail here as well.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Wreck-It-Ralph
Brave is following closely.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Searching for Sugar Man
The juggernaut this year, and likely winner, especially since Documentary, for the first time, is open to all members of the Academy to vote on this year.
BEST FOREIGN FILM: Amour
Foreign Film is never a lock, considering it's voted on committee by members who must watch all five nominated films, but Amour, a Best Picture nominee, is the safe bet.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lincoln
A tight race, and one (like many this year) where there's a case to be made for all five. I'm choosing Lincoln because it seems the one tech prize that it has a chance in, and as a spread the wealth prize for the film that was likely second place in Best Picture.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Life of Pi
Tough call between the rich CGI splendor of Pi and the hope of Roger Deakins, the artist/poet finally winning an Oscar after ten tries with Skyfall. Pi should prevail.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Anna Karenina
A case where the most means best, and Jacqueline Durran's work on Anna Karenina personifies both splendidly.
BEST FILM EDITING: Argo
Typically matched with Best Picture and William Goldenberg's tight cutting is partially why Argo is so successfully to begin with.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Paperman
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Open Hearts
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Curfew
With the short films, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. However, this is the first year that voting is allotted to all members of the Academy and that might make them easier to predict. Paperman, from Disney is likely the mostly viewed Animated Short, Open Hearts, the most likely to elicit tears, and Curfew, the most polished...my logic...may not be sound!
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Life of Pi
One where anything can happen...I think Michael Danna's internationally-infused score will prevail.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: "Skyfall," Skyfall
BEST SOUND MIXING: Les Miserables
The sound mixing of Les Miserables has had it's campaign nearly soaked up for months because the live singing was such a huge component of the film itself. Musicals tends to do well here.
BEST SOUND EDITING: Life of Pi
The MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors) gave Pi the most prizes...logic lies there....not confident!
BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIRSTYLING: Les Miserables
A chance to spread the wealth for Les Miserables against a field of Hitchcock (which can't possibly win?!?) and The Hobbit, which will likely lose due to a been-there/done-that feel.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Life of Pi